On October 3rd, Starbucks determined through an Internet search that former senior vice-president Paul Twohig had accepted a position with rival Dunkin Donuts.  In response Starbucks filed a lawsuit in Seattle seeking to enforce the18 month non-compete agreement Twohig signed.  He left Starbucks in March.

Twohig was responsible for developing the Starbucks brand and according to the complaint was involved in formulating business plans to counter competitors like Dunkin Donuts.   His non-compete prevents him from participating in management operation or control of any business that competes with Starbucks. Apparently, Twohig contacted Starbucks in August and asked to be released from the non-compete. Starbucks refused the request.  Starbucks has asserted claims for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and a request for injunctive relief.

Surely Dunkin and Twohig discussed his non-compete prior to his hiring?  Dunkin would have to assume that Starbucks would sue to enforce the non-compete.  The law and facts seems to be on Starbucks’ side but there are two sides to every story.  We’ll keep you posted.